LOS ANGELES : Judge Rejects Fee Requests by Koon, Powell Lawyers

The city of Los Angeles does not have to pay the lawyers who represented two ex-police officers convicted of violating Rodney G. King's civil rights, according to a ruling released Monday.

U.S. District Judge John G. Davies denied the compensation request by attorneys for ex-Sgt. Stacey C. Koon and ex-Officer Laurence M. Powell based on the verdict at their federal civil trial.

"The criminal verdict . . . establishes that Koon and Powell acted with the specific, wrongful intent to deprive King of his civil rights," Davies wrote in his order, dated Feb. 21.

"This finding is sufficient to establish actual malice, pursuant to the definition of that term in the legislative history as including 'deliberate wrongful intent,' " the judge wrote. "Given actual malice, the city was not required to defend or indemnify Koon or Powell."

Mike Stone, who handled the case against Powell, and Ira Salzman, who defended Koon, each sought compensation for work that they say helped the city present its case in the civil trial of King's lawsuit.

King won a $3.8-million verdict at that trial and his attorneys were awarded more than $1.6 million in fees. Stone sought $320,000 for his work and Salzman wanted $167,000.

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